Canadian chef stirs up Paella controversy

Canadian Chef brews controversy. Image: TikTok

IN a daring culinary twist, Canadian chef Dre Pao has sparked both outrage and curiosity with his latest creation: Café Asiatico (Asian coffee) paella. Drawing inspiration from Cartagena, Pao has reinvented one of Spain’s most iconic dishes, much to the chagrin of traditionalists.

Condensed Milk and Cinnamon: The Unlikely Stars of Paella Remix

Replacing olive oil with a splash of Licor 43 and coffee as the base, Pao adds rice and a dollop of condensed milk to the mix. As the concoction simmers, lemon peels and cinnamon are added for flavour, culminating in a creamy texture reminiscent of Cartagena’s famous Café Asiatico.

Chef Dre Pao: Stirring the Pot and Stirring Debate

While some hail Pao’s innovation as a delightful twist, others decry it as an affront to Cartagena‘s and Spain’s culinary heritage. Social media is teeming with criticism, labelling the creation everything from an ‘aberration’ to a ‘travesty.’ Yet, amidst the backlash, defenders argue that the fusion dish may offer a surprisingly tasty experience similar to rice pudding.

@drepaoofficial I think this should be the new official dessert of Murcia❤️… #comidaespañola #comidamurciana #murciacentro #murciaexiste #murciaquehermosaeres #spanishfood #paella #paellavalenciana ♬ original sound – Dre Pao – Snack News & Reviews

Flavors Collide

Regardless, Pao’s bold experimentation underscores the ongoing debate surrounding culinary tradition versus innovation, leaving palates and opinions divided.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!